Why do we fund more healthcare than social care?

As the commission on the long-term funding of adult social care continues with its work, I wonder once again why there is any difference in the extent to which we are happy to publicly fund health and social care.  Both are concerned with enabling people to improve their quality of life, either through reduction of debilitating illness or having the help necessary to continue with normal activities of daily living.  Could this be simply because those in receipt of social care are often those with the least ability to make their own case? In a civilised society state funding should be provided equally to all, including the elderly or those with disabilities.

In the Wanless 2006 report, the review used the outcome measure of the ADLAY (activities of daily living adjusted year), assuming a ‘willingness-to-pay’ of £20,000 per ADLAY.  I see no reason why provision and funding of social care shouldn’t be rated in this way, in the same way as healthcare.

As part of a review of the social care funding system, we need to first decide what value we place on the ability of those in need of social care to continue to conduct their lives.  Is not this need as important as the need to prevent diability due to illness? If so, then we should fund social care and healthcare to the same extent, even if this means reducing funding for certain non-essential items of healthcare spend.

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